Column: Creating your home office

Almost any space, even a closet, can be transformed into an organized home office. (Submitted photo)
Almost any space, even a closet, can be transformed into an organized home office. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Sarah Nurmi

I recently started my own business and will be working out of my home.  How should I organize my home office?

I am glad you asked this, because an organized space is a productive space! I would recommend working a few weeks before trying to organize your office. This might sound counter-productive, but it allows you to identify exactly how you are using the space and what you will need to make it function specifically for your business.

Generally, a home office is set up in “zones.”

Zone 1: Items within arm’s reach, like your computer, printer, phone, stapler, post-its, pens and current projects.

Zone 2: Items that are accessible, but outside of arm’s reach, like processed files, mail supplies and reference binders.

Zone 3: Items stored out of the way, like extra office supplies and archived files.

The biggest issue I’ve seen with home offices is with paper — it doesn’t take long for it to pile up, so be sure to have a system for dealing with all that paperwork.

A popular acronym in the organizing world is ACT.

Action — These are papers that require you to do something, like pay bills, make a phone call, file expense reports or renew a service.

Contain — These are items that don’t require further action, but need to be filed away.

Trash — If it doesn’t fit in the other two categories, toss it!

A healthy habit is to deal with incoming papers right away. If you have to see something to know it exists, try vertical storage like hanging files or magazine racks that won’t take up desk space. If you prefer things tucked away, shop for an attractive file cabinet that blends in with the rest of your furniture and a desktop organizer for high priority items. Bookshelves with hanging file baskets are another great option.